Explore Summer Ministry Intern Highlight: Savannah Smith, Intern at Dilworth UMC in Charlotte


Savannah Smith, a sophomore at Appalachian State University, interned at Dilworth United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC, with the Rev. Cade Barefoot, Associate Pastor, and Rev. Michelle Chappel, Lead Pastor, as her clergy mentors for the summer.

Savannah grew up in the Methodist Church and she recalls, “For a long time being a Christian just felt like another part of life, something that everyone did just because that’s how life goes. I didn’t realize that church was this choice people made. I guess I never realized it was really a belief that people had. I came to learn this in a simple way, yet it rocked my world. When I was in 5th grade a girl joined our class and I grew to become good friends with her. One day she told me that her family didn’t believe in God. I never considered God to be something that people wouldn’t believe in. Not because I was close to him or had some deep belief in him myself, but more so because God was just a fact of life to me.” She goes onto share that this experience opened a floodgate of questions about God and humanities’ relationship with God.
While in high school Savannah had a conversation with a friend who affirmed for her, she was being called by God. She realized, “God really does use us even when we don’t realize it.” She went on to write and post devotions on Instagram and she says, “I received feedback from girls I had never spoken to before, claiming that my posts spoke to them and helped them in so many different ways.”
Earlier this spring, Savannah’s mother was having a phone conversation with Rev. Jill Rhinehart, the family’s pastor at Central United Methodist Church in Albemarle. Rev. Rhinehart was checking in with the family and catching up with how everyone was doing. As they discussed Savannah, she shares her mother, “…explained how she believed I would do something in ministry but didn’t know what that would like. Apparently, the preacher got really excited over this news and informed my mom about an email she recently received regarding young adults interested in an internship in ministry.”
Savannah decided to apply for the internship and sees it as God opening windows of possibilities. She says, “I don’t know if God is leading me to be a pastor, lay leader, or what. But I do know that God has opened a big window, asking me to simply listen to his call and follow his lead.”
Savannah preached on July 23, 2021, at Dilworth United Methodist Church. If you would like to hear her sermon you can use this link Dilworth Church - Good Moring, Dilworth | Facebook


The Explore Ministry Internship is for young adults, ages 18-25, interested in exploring ordained ministry through 10-week summer internships in United Methodist settings within the Conference. All interns are placed in a context where they can explore their gifts and particular aspects of ministry in a safe and encouraging environment. Each intern is matched with an ordained clergy mentor, and they get to shadow their mentor to do all the things pastors do. 

If you would like to learn more about the WNCC Explore: Summer Ministry Internship and how you might support the ministry please contact Rev. Annalee Allen, Associate Director of Ministerial Services, at aallen@wnccumc.org

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at hfleming@wnccumc.net.


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.